Amazon, has created the next generation of operating system.
Alexa is Windows for the 21st-century. It’s Mac OS for the voice first age. It’s Android for speech.
What Amazon has managed to do, or is managing to do, without many people realising, is put a computer terminal in fixed locations across your home.
Computers that will be there forever. How often do you move your smart speaker? How often will you move your smart display? How often do you move your TV?
You might upgrade them, from time to time. But when you upgrade your phone, do you switch platforms regularly, from Android to iOS? Probably not.
Therefore, chances are, if you have Echo devices throughout your home, complete and utter large-scale mishaps aside, you’re probably going to have them in place forever, from now on.
An Alexa smarthome will likely stay an Alexa smarthome.
This is one of the big reasons why the Amazon-Google battle ensues. Once you’ve made your choice, you’re unlikely to move to something else.
Take the Echo Show. The display units. Lots of people, myself included, have these devices in the kitchen. It replaces the radio and is on the verge of being able to replace a TV.
Although it is voice first, it has a touch screen. That means that it can be the home of apps. Not just voice first apps, but normal touch based apps with a voice interface on top.
It’s the inverse of what Spotify is doing by adding a voice assistant into its app, we’ll see people add their apps into the voice assistants on the Echo Show and other smart displays.
Amazon’s guidance is to create all interactions to be voice first, using the screen as a back up or for additional information. However, fast forward two or three years and Amazon’s advice won’t really matter if user behaviour doesn’t correspond.
What if people begin using the Echo Show as a touch-based device just as often as they use it for a voice first device?
Amazon will need to make it easier than it currently is for developers and brands to move across the apps that they have on android and iOS into the Alexa ecosystem. And break out of the platform wars that it’s currently in with Google and allow things like YouTube.
When you break it down, devices are all converging, voice and mobile, voice and TV, voice and smart displays, over time the smart display that you have in your kitchen will grow to be no different than the phone you have in your pocket.